How effective is your sales coaching? When is the last time you asked yourself this question?
It goes without saying, sales coaching is important. Sales coaching differs from sales training in that it is the continuous reinforcement of skills to improve performance over time. If you aren’t sales coaching at all, we’ve covered in depth how to get your sales coaching plan started, but if you are, it is equally important to honestly and consistently re-evaluate your approach.
Your approach to sales coaching needs to evolve to keep up with the continual change of your prospects, marketplace, team, and product. Like anything in sales, coaching is a results-driven exercise, so you need to be consistently checking your approach to make sure it is effective.
It’s not just about whether or not you’re coaching. It’s about how you’re coaching. According to CSO Insights, having a dynamic coaching process versus an ad hoc one can make up to a 27.6% difference in win rates.
Most sales managers don’t start coaching with a dynamic process. It’s been found that most sales coaching programs start as random programs, then advance through stages including informal, formal before finally reaching a dynamic process.
What criteria should you use when rethinking your sales coaching approach? If you feel like you are advanced in your sales coaching abilities, you can visit some assessment tools like those from the Sales Readiness Group. If you are not sure where to start, here are 8 smart areas to evaluate when it’s time to reassess your sales coaching strategies.
The frequency of coaching sessions is important. If you aren’t coaching your reps on a routine basis, you aren’t alone. Many sales managers find it challenging to fit in the recommended 3-5 hours per rep per month. On the flip side, we’ve written before about how to avoid your sales coaching becoming micromanaging. But, don’t forget what a huge impact you can have on your reps and team when you make the time.
Overall sales results should increase to keep pace with ever-growing sales goals. If they’re flat or declining, it’s a sure sign that you need to adjust your coaching strategies. It could be a sign that you’re simply telling reps how to do things instead of guiding them through their individualized improvement process. And, of course, one size does not fit all.
Sales rep retention or turnover are critical. It’s normal to have some turnover on your team from time to time, but if it’s up and you can’t seem to attract or keep top talent. This is costly in many ways including revenue lost from the reps who left and reduced revenue while new reps are onboarding. Plus, don’t forget the actual cost of the onboarding process. When coaching is lacking, top and potentially top performers leave to gain access to greater opportunities for professional growth. So remember that consistent coaching equals sales rep retention.
Client satisfaction is a coaching effectiveness indicator too. If your customers’ dissatisfaction has increased, it may mean that your reps need to improve how they handle certain client-facing discussions. It’s important to include time during coaching sessions and team meetings to encourage reps to talk about their customer interactions. You can also identify these times of issues when listening to your reps call recordings.
New team member ramp time varies by industry but tends to average around six months or less. Are your new reps taking longer than they should reach full quota productivity? This is a sure sign that it’s time to revamp your coaching with new strategies. Onboarding is essential, being the foundation of all your team’s learning and coaching. Plus, it dramatically impacts how soon new reps start effectively contributing to team and company revenue goals.
Sales rep productivity should increase with consistent coaching. If your reps have reduced productivity, which translates to fewer pipeline opportunities, less clients converting to customers and uninspired or frequently canceled meetings. It may indicate that your team needs additional reinforcement to follow your sales process and that they are functioning as efficiently as they should.
Team morale should increase when you develop a good coaching relationship base on trust. Low morale or a lack of confidence, negatively impacts overall success. This is easily picked up by call recipients, making it difficult to push through cold calling to schedule a reasonable percentage of meetings each day because they aren’t sure of themselves or their message. Self-doubt and uncertainty hold them back from the level of success they’re capable of achieving.
Identification of best practices is easy when coaching your reps on a routine basis. You hear the good and the bad, enabling you to guide them through improvement where needed and allowing you to capture sharable best practice examples. If you’re finding it difficult to identify these, then it’s time to develop a strategy that facilitates this. It’s important and can save you valuable time by allowing you to employ peer to peer coaching as a strategy while developing a library of these recordings.
So, how did you do? How effective are your current sales coaching strategies? Is it time to make some adjustments? Check out our resource on sales coach planning. It will guide you through the process of improving your team’s results.